Marine Abbreviation (E to K )



A receeding current
East Coast
Even If Used
Electric Ventilation
Estimated Time of Arrival
Estimated Time of Completion
Estimated Time of Departure
Estimated Time of Sailing
Ex Works
ebb channel
See flood channel.
ebb tide
A loose term applied both to the falling tide and to the outgoing tidal stream.
A circular motion in water; a horizontal movement in a different direction from that of the general direction of the tidal stream in the vicinity, caused by obstructions such as islands, rocks, etc, or by the frictional effects of beaches, banks, breakwaters, etc.
A change of direction in the contour of a submerged bank or shoal; a sharp change in the direction of a channel, breakwater, pier, etc.
That which rises above its surroundings, such as a hill, etc. On a chart, the elevation of a feature is its height above the level of MHWS or MHHW. cf heights.
A sloping structure of stone, rubble or earth, raising the height of a river bank, or used as the foundation for, or strengthening of, a causeway or dyke.
To be in such a position, or under such adverse conditions, in a bay that extrication is difficult if not impossible.
entrance lock
A lock situated between the tideway and an enclosed basin when their levels vary. It has two sets of gates by means of which vessels can pass either way at all states of the tide. Sometimes known as a Tidal lock.
equilibrium tide
The hypothetical tide which would be produced by the lunar and solar tidal forces in the absence of ocean constraints and dynamics.
equinoctial spring tide
A spring tide (greater than average) occurring near the equinox (in March and September).
Either of the two points at which the Sun crosses the equator: or the dates on which these occurrences take place.
The wearing away of the coast (or banks of a river) by water action; the opposite of accretion.
An elongated and comparatively steep slope separating flat or gently sloping areas.
established direction of traffic flow
See traffic flow.
An arm of the sea at the mouth of a tidal river, usually encumbered with shoals, where the tidal effect is influenced by the river current.
estuary port
A port built at the tidal mouth or estuary of a river.
even keel
The state of a ship when her draught forward and aft are the same. Loosely applied when a ship is floating at her designed draught marks.
Exposed Location Single Buoy Mooring (ELSBM)
(A development of CALM) is designed for use in deep water where bad weather is common. With this type of SPM the buoy is replaced by a large cylindrical floating structure. The structure is surmounted by a helicopter platform, has reels for lifting hawsers and hoses clear of the water, and is fitted with emergency accommodation. Its anchors may lie up to half a mile from the structure.
A small island in a river.


Free In and Out
Loading and discharging expenses not borne by the shipowner or carrier but by the charterer and/or consignees.
Free In Out and
Spout Trimmed
Cargo is loaded and spout trimmed as well as unloaded at the expense of the shippers or receivers.
Free Pratique
Certificate from the Port Health Authority that the ship is free of disease and has a clean bill of health.
Transportation charges for cargo carried by a ship.
Fast as can
Free Alongside Ship. Seller delivers goods to appropriate dock or terminal at port of embarkation and buyer covers costs and risks of loading
Free to Carrier. A modern equivalent of FAS used in intermodal transport where goods are transferred at a nominated forwarders premises, depot or terminal but not actually on board vessel.
Free Discharge
Freight Demurrage Deadfreight
Free Despatch
Freight Deemed Earned, Discountless And Non-Returnable (Refundable) Ship And Or Cargo Lost Or Not Lost
A cushion, placed between ships, or between a ship and a pier, to prevent damage
Standard 40’ Container
Fridays/Holidays Excluded
Fridays/Holidays Included
Free In/Liner Out. Seafreight with which the shipper pays load costs and the carrier pays for discharge costs.
Free In/Out. Freight booked FIO includes the seafreight, but no loading/discharging costs, i.e. the charterer pays for cost of loading/discharging cargo.
Free In/Out Stowed. As per FIO, but excludes stowage costs.
Free In/Out and Trimmed. Charterer pays for cost of loading/discharging cargo, including stowage and trimming.
Free In/Out and Trimmed. As per FIOS but includes trimming, e.g. the levelling of bulk cargoes. FIOS includes seafreight, but excludes loading/discharging and stowage costs.
Free In Trimmed
Free In Wagon
Chartering a Vessel
Conclusion of shipbrokers negotiations to charter a ship – an agreement
Cargo to be presented stacked and secured as an integral unit.
Full Liner Terms
Federal Maritime Commission
Force Majeure Excepted
For Orders
Fuel Oil/Intermediate FO
Free Out
Free on Board. Seller sees the goods “over the ship’s rail” on to the ship which is arranged and paid for by the buyer
Firm Offer
For Our Guidance
Free On Quay
Free On Rail
Clause limiting responsibilities of the charterers, shippers and receivers of cargo.
In a line parallel to the keel
Toward the bow of the ship
Free On Truck
First Open Water
Free On Wharf
Free Pratique. Clearance by the Health Authorities
First Refusal. First attempt at best offer that can be matched
The minimum vertical distance from the surface of the water to the gunwale
Freight. Money payable on delivery of cargo in a mercantile condition
If loading/discharging achieved sooner than agreed, there will be no freight money returned.
Free of any Extra Insurance (Owners)
Free of discharge costs to owners. Includes seafreight only.
Charterers when cancelling agreement sometimes quote ‘doctrine of frustration’ i.e. vessel is lost, extensive delays.
Fresh Water Arrival Draft
Fresh Water Departure Draft
For Your Guidance
For Your Information
The main navigable channel, often buoyed, in a river, or running through or into a harbour.
falling tide
The period between high water and the succeeding low water.
A relatively smooth feature normally sloping away from the lower termination of a canyon or canyon system. Also termed a Cone.
See snag.
A unit of measurement used for soundings. Equal to 6 feet or 1.8288 m.
fathom lines
Submarine contour lines drawn on charts, indicating equal depths in fathoms.
A boat, pontoon, or any craft, used to convey passengers or vehicles to and fro across a harbour, river, etc. See also train ferry.
To ferry. To convey in a boat, to and fro over a river, across a harbour, etc.
The area of the sea surface over which seas are generated by a wind having a constant direction and speed. Also, the length of the generating area, measured in the direction of the wind, in which the seas are generated.
fish aggregating device
A general term used to designate fish havens, marine farms (qv), etc.
fish farm
See marine farm.
fish haven
An area where concrete blocks, hulks, disused car bodies, etc, are dumped to provide suitable conditions for fish to breed in. Devices may also be moored in mid-water or on the surface to serve the same purpose. In Japanese waters, the term ‘floating fish haven’ may be used instead of marine farm (qv). Draught permitting, vessels may navigate over seabed fish havens, but they are hazards to anchoring or seabed operations.
fish pound
A barrier across the mouth of a creek placed to retain fish in a creek.
fish stakes
A row of stakes set out from the shore, frequently to a considerable distance; often terminating in a partly decked enclosure from which a net can be lowered.
fish trap
An enclosure of stakes set in shallow water or a stream as a trap for fish.
fish weir
An enclosure of stakes set in a stream or on the shoreline as a trap for fish.
fishing ground
Area wherein craft congregate to fish; most particularly those areas occupied periodically by the large fishing fleets.
fishing harbour or port
One especially equipped for the convenience of the fishing industry, the handling of fish and the maintenance of its vessels.
fitting-out basin
A basin in a shipyard sited and equipped, to accommodate ships to complete the installation of machinery, etc, after launching.
The position of the ship determined by observations.
An extensive area, level or nearly so, consisting usually of mud, but sometimes of sand or rock, which is covered at high water and is attached to the shore. Sometimes called Tidal flats. cf ledge.
Floating beacon
A moored or anchored floating mark ballasted to float upright, usually displaying a flag on a tall pole, and sometimes carrying a light or radar reflector; used particularly in hydrographic surveying.
floating bridge
A power-worked pontoon used as a ferry which propels itself across a harbour, river, canal, etc, by means of guide chains.
floating crane
See crane.
boating dock
A watertight structure capable of being submerged sufficiently, by admission of water into the pontoon tanks, to admit a vessel. The tanks are then pumped out, the dock and vessel rising until the latter is clear of the water, thus serving the same purpose as a dry dock.
flood channel
A channel in tidal waters through which the flood (incoming) tidal stream flows more strongly, or for a longer duration of time, than the ebb. It is characterised by a sill or bar of sand or other consolidated matter at the inner end, ie the least depth in the channel occurs close to the inner end. Ebb channels occur in close association with, and usually alongside, flood channels: they have a sill at their outer end.
A mark, consisting usually of a horizontal line and a date, sometimes found on riverside buildings, dock walls, etc, to mark the highest level reached by flood waters at the date indicated.
flood tide
A loose term applied both to the rising tide and to the incoming tidal stream, cf ebb tide.
The combination of tidal stream and current; the whole water movement. Also a loose term for flood (eg ebb and flow).
following sea
One running in the same direction as the ship is steering.
Single-celled animals consisting of a mass of jelly-like flesh with no definite organs or parts of the body; covered with a casing of carbonate of lime: common in the surface waters of the sea.
forced tide
A tide which exceeds its predicted height at high water.
A promontory or headland.
A part of the shore lying between high and low water lines of Mean Spring tides.
form lines
Lines drawn on a chart to indicate the slope and general shape of the hill features; generalised contour lines which do not represent any specific or standardised heights. cf hachure.
forty-foot equivalent unit
See container.
foul area, foul bottom or foul patch
An area where the seabed is strewn with wreckage or other obstructions, no longer dangerous to surface navigation, but making it unsuitable for anchoring.
foul ground. An area where the holding qualities for an anchor are poor, or where danger of striking or fouling the ground or other obstructions exist.
foul bottom
The bottom of a ship when encrusted with marine growth.
fracture zone
An extensive linear zone of irregular topography of the sea floor, characterised by steep-sided or asymmetrical ridges, troughs or escarpments.
free port
A port where certain import and export duties are waived (unless the goods pass into the country), to facilitate re-shipment to other countries. cf transit port.
An abnormal amount of fresh water running into a river, estuary or the sea, caused by heavy or prolonged rain or melted snow.
fringing reef
A reef, generally coral, closely attached to the shore with no lagoon or passage between it and the land.
full and change
See high water full and change.
Oceanographically, a fissure which penetrates, roughly perpendicularly to the run of the contours, into the continental or island shelf or slope. cf canyon.


Gross registered tonnage – measurement of a ship by taking the total enclosed volume of her hull below the upper deck as well as enclosed spaces above it (with certain exceptions namely; double bottoms used for ballast and accommodation) in cubic feet and dividing by 100.
Similar to a brow (qv) when it is sometimes called a gangplank. Also, the actual opening in the ship’s side by which a ship is entered or left. Also, a passage-way in a ship.
Oceanographically, a break in a ridge or rise.
A swashway, gut or natural channel through shoals.
The shortest distance between two points on the spheroid. It is equivalent to a great circle on the sphere.
geodetic datum
See horizontal datum.
geographical mile
See mile.
An imaginary surface which is everywhere perpendicular to the plumb line, and which on average coincides with Mean Sea Level in the open ocean. Its shape approximates to that of a spheroid, but it is irregular due to the uneven distribution of the Earth’s mass.
To gird a ship is to prevent her from swinging to wind and tide. Of a tug, to be towed broadside on through the water by her tow-rope.
Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS)
The satellite navigation system owned and operated by the Russian Federation.
Global Positioning System (GPS)
The satellite navigation system owned and operated by the United States Department of Defence.
globigerina ooze
Ooze which has the limy skeletons of foraminifera as its principal constituent, the dominant element being the calcareous tests of the globigerina (a spherical shelled organism).
A term used in Eastern ports for a warehouse or store.
A buoy fitted with a gong which may be actuated automatically or by wave motion.
gradient currents
Currents caused by pressure gradients in the water. Gradient currents. Pressure gradients in the water cause gradient currents. Gradient currents occur whenever the water surface develops a slope, whether under the action of wind, change of barometric pressure, or through the juxtaposition of waters of differing temperature or salinity, or both. The initial water movement is down the slope but the effect of the Earth’s rotation is to deflect the movement through 90″ (to the right in the N hemisphere and to the left in the S hemisphere) from the initial direction. A gradient current may be flowing in the surface layers at the same time as a drift current is being produced by the wind. In this case the actual current observed is the resultant of the two. An interesting example of a gradient current occurs in the Bay of Bengal in February. In this month the current circulation is clockwise around the shores of the bay, the flow being NE-going along the W shore. With the NE Monsoon still blowing, the current is setting against the wind. The explanation of this phenomenon is that the cold wind off the land cools the adjacent water. A temperature gradient thus arises between cold water in the N and warm water in the S. Because of the density difference thus created a slope, downwards towards the N, develops. The resulting N-going flow is directed towards the right, in an E direction, and so sets up the general clockwise circulation.
Coarse sand and small water-worn or rounded stones; varying in size from about the diameter of the top of a man’s thumb to the size of a pinhead. cf sand, pebbles.
graving dock
Another name for a dry dock. To grave is an old term meaning to burn off the accretions on a ship’s bottom before tarring, etc.
A systematic rectangular network of lines superimposed on a chart or map and lettered and numbered in such a way that the position of any feature can be defined with any required degree of precision.
grid reference
The position of a feature given in grid letters and numbers.
A flat framework, usually baulks of timber placed parallel with each other, erected on the foreshore below the high water line, and in such a position that a vessel can be moved over it at high water and left dry and resting on it at low water.
A portion of the Earth’s crust which may be submerged or above water, eg spoil ground, middle ground, swampy ground, landing ground.
to ground. To run ashore or touch bottom.
ground speed
The speed of a vessel over the ground.
ground swell
A long ocean swell; also this swell as it reaches depths of less than half its length and becomes shorter and steeper; ie influenced by the ground.
ground track
See track
A low wall-like structure, generally of wood or stone, usually extending at right angles from the shore, to prevent erosion. Frequently erected in estuaries and rivers to direct the flow of the water and prevent silting or encourage accretion.
A portion of the sea partly enclosed by land; usually of larger extent and greater relative penetration than a bay.
A natural narrow inlet of deep water in a bank or shoal, sometimes forming a channel through it. It may also refer to the main part of a channel.
See tablemount.


Heating Coils
Steam pipes positioned in the oil cargo tanks, which when the tanks are full are heated to modify the viscosity or thickness of the bulk oil so allowing it to flow and be pumped out more easily.
The longitudinal bending of a ship as the bow and stern are lowered while the centre is raised (the opposite of sagging).
Shading lines sometimes used on charts and maps to indicate the general slope and shape of hill forms. cf form lines.
half tide
The height of the tide halfway between high water and low water. cf. mean tide level.
half-tide basin
A basin the gates of which are open for entry and departure some hours before and after high water.
half-tide rock
Formerly used to describe rocks which are awash at about mean tide level.
A stretch of water where vessels can anchor, or secure to buoys or alongside wharves, etc, and obtain protection from sea and swell. The protection may be afforded by natural features or by artificial works. cf artificial harbour, island harbour.
harbour board
See Port Authority.
harbour reach
See reach.
A strip of gravel, stone or concrete, built on a beach across the foreshore to facilitate landing or the hauling up of boats.
harmonic analysis
An analysis of tidal observations, carried out to determine the harmonic constituents of the tide, as a basis for tidal predictions.
harmonic constants
See constants (harmonic).
harmonic constituent
See constituent (of the tide).
harmonic prediction
Prediction of the tide by combining harmonic constituents.
A harbour or place of refuge for vessels from the violence of wind and sea. In the strict sense it should be accessible at all states of the tide and conditions of weather.
A comparatively high promontory with a steep face. An unnamed head is usually described as a headland. Also, the inner part of a bay, creek, etc, eg the head of the bay. Also, the seaward end of a jetty, pier, etc.
head sea
A sea coming from the direction in which a ship is heading; the opposite to a following sea.
Synonymous with ship’s head.
See head.
Motion in a forward direction. Also, an obsolescent term synonymous with vertical clearance (qv).
heavy sea
A rough, high sea.
The vertical distance between the top of an object and its base. On Admiralty charts, the term “height” (except in the case of drying heights) is used in the sense of elevation (qv) and unless otherwise stated, is expressed, in metres or feet as appropriate, above the level of MHWS, MHHW, or, in places where there is no tide, above the level of the sea. cf elevation, High Water Datum. Also, the height of a vessel is the height of the highest point of a vessel’s structure (eg radar aerial, funnel, cranes, masthead) above her waterline.
height of the tide
The vertical distance at any instant between sea level and chart datum.
A comparatively level plateau at the summit of a precipitous mountain.
high focal plane buoy
A light-buoy on which the signal light is fitted particularly high above the waterline. Used as fairway or landfall buoys. cf lanby.
High Water (HW)
The highest level reached by the tide in one complete cycle.
higher high water
The higher of two successive high waters where diurnal inequality is present.
high water datum or datum for heights
The high water plane to which elevations of land features are referred. On Admiralty charts this datum is normally the level of MHWS when the tide is predominantly semi-diurnal, or MHHW when the tide is predominantly diurnal.
high water stand
A prolonged period of negligible vertical movement near high water, this being a regular feature of the tides in certain localities while in other places stands are caused by meteorological conditions.
high water springs
See Mean High Water Springs.
Highest Astronomical Tide (HAT)
The highest tidal level which can be predicted to occur under average meteorological conditions and under any combination of astronomical conditions.
holding ground
The sea bottom of an anchorage is described as good or bad holding ground according to its capacity for gripping the anchor and chain cable. In general, clay, mud and sand are good; shingle, shell and rock are bad.
A small area of considerably greater depths than those in the vicinity; of less area than a deep.
hollow sea
A very deep and steep sea.
A barge used in harbours, etc, for conveying sullage or spoil to a spoil ground (where it is discharged through the bottom of the barge).
horizontal datum
A reference for specifying positions on the Earth’s surface. Each datum is associated with a particular reference spheroid. Positions referred to different datums can differ by several hundred metres.
The science and art of measuring the oceans, seas, rivers and other waters, with their marginal land areas, inclusive of all fundamental elements which have to be known for the safe navigation of such areas, and the publication of such information in a form suitable for the use of navigators.


International Maritime Organisation.
Inert Gas System
Arrangements on tankers for filling the void in empty or partially loaded cargo tanks with inert gas. This eliminates oxygen and lessens the hazards of fire and explosion.
impounding basin
A basin in which water can be held by means of a sluice, weir or gate. Used for keeping craft afloat when the tide drops below a certain level, or to provide water for sluicing a channel which is very shallow and tends to collect silt.
index chart
An outline chart on which the limits and numbers of navigational charts, volumes of Admiralty Sailing Directions, etc, are shown.
Indian Spring Low Water
A level, originally devised by Sir George Darwin for use in Indian waters, determined from harmonic constants and used as chart datum in some parts of the world.
inland waterways
The navigable systems of waters comprising canals, rivers, lakes, etc, within the land territory.
A small indentation in the coastline usually tapering towards its head. cf creek.
inner harbour
A harbour within a harbour, provided with quays, etc, at which vessels can berth.
Close to the shore. Used sometimes to indicate shoreward of a position in contrast to seaward of it.
inshore traffic zone
A routeing measure comprising a designated area between the landward boundary of a Traffic Separation Scheme and the adjacent coast, to be used in accordance with the provisions of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972.
ironbound coast
A rock-bound coast without anchorage or harbour.
island harbour
A harbour formed, or mainly protected, by islands.
island shelf
The zone around an island and extending from the low water line to a depth at which there is usually a marked increase in slope towards oceanic depths.
island slope (shoulder or talus)
The declivity from the outer edge of the island shelf into deeper water.
island terminal or structure
Deep-water structure not connected to the shore by a causeway or jetty. Submarine pipelines or overhead cableways are used to transport cargoes between the island and the shore.
Of equal depth.
Of equal magnetic variation (declination).


A structure generally of wood, masonry, concrete or iron, which projects usually at right-angles from the coast or some other structure. Vessels normally lie alongside parallel with the main axis of the structure. Also, term used in the USA and Canada for a training wall (qv).


See cay.
The nautical unit of speed, ie 1 nautical mile (of 1852 m) per hour.

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